Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from the Florida Legislature today, consumed by a scandal that erupted three days earlier over a diatribe of insults the Miami Republican unleashed against two lawmakers at a Tallahassee bar.
In a letter to Senate President Joe Negron, Artiles said he was stepping down for the sake of his family and of the institution of the Senate, whose work ground to a near halt this week as Republican leaders grappled with Artiles’ political future.
“My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State,” Artiles wrote. “I am responsible and I am accountable and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate.
“It’s clear there are consequences to every action, and in this area, I will need time for personal reflection and growth.”
Senate President Joe Negron forced Artiles to apologize on the Senate floor Wednesday for his alcohol-fueled racist and sexist Monday night tirade against Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville. But black lawmakers outraged at Artiles for calling Gibson a “b—-” and a “girl” — and for referring to some Republicans as “n—–” — said saying sorry was not enough: They formally sought his expulsion from the Senate.
Negron, whom Artiles had derided in his rant as a “p—-,” ordered an investigation. Artiles, an ex-Marine known for his combative style, hired a sharp-elbowed Tallahassee lawyer and vowed to fight.
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